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Bern Convention: Preparing our future, preserving life on Earth

Preparing our future, preserving life on Earth: Contracting Parties to the Bern Convention meet for their annual session in Strasbourg 29 November to 02 December 2011

Press Release
Preparing our future, preserving life on Earth:
Contracting Parties to the Bern Convention meet for their annual session in Strasbourg
29 November to 02 December 2011
The Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, better known as the Bern Convention, will hold the annual four-day meeting of its Committee of the Parties (Standing Committee) on 29 November to 02 December 2011, at the Council of Europe’s premises, in Strasbourg.

As a regional legal instrument for co-ordinating action at the European level, the Bern Convention has succeeded, over the past 30 years, in introducing common standards for the protection of biodiversity, a critical element to guarantee peoples’ right to a healthy environment and achieve sustainable development, two goals directly related to the values and objectives of the Council of Europe.

The meeting of the Standing Committee to the Bern Convention is both a scientific and policy event, attended by officials of the 50 Parties to the Convention as well as by observer states, other global biodiversity agreements, international and national NGOs active in the filed of nature conservation. The task of the Standing Committee is to review the implementation of the Convention’s Programme of activities, to monitor the compliance of Parties with their obligations, to assess scientific reports and adopt recommendations, guidance and resolutions concerning measures to achieve the Convention’s objectives and improve its effectiveness.

This year, the Standing Committee to the Bern Convention will more particularly debate how to enhance its contribution to the new UN global targets on halting biodiversity loss by 2020, as well as topics such as preventing illegal killing of wild birds, the impact of climate change on marine biodiversity, the sustainable management of biodiversity in European islands, and the eradication of exotic species that pose a threat to European flora and fauna and to human health. Furthermore, the Committee will take stock of the progress made in the setting-up of the Emerald Network, a pan-European ecological network of protected areas aiming at maintaining the populations of wild flora and fauna and their habitats, including endangered natural habitats, while allowing a degree of human exploitation of the landscape.

Several side events will take place during the meeting, including a presentation and discussion of the possible options for the future of the European Diploma of Protected Areas of the Council of Europe; of lessons learnt on the development of wind energy and its impact on wildlife; as well as on the eradication of the Ruddy Duck.

The Meeting of the Standing Committee to the Bern Convention is not open to the public. However interviews with the delegates of Contracting Parties can be eventually agreed in advance via the Secretariat and be done outside the meeting room.

Note to editors:

The Bern Convention is a binding international legal instrument in the field of nature conservation, which covers most of the natural heritage of the European continent and extends to some States of Africa. Its aims are to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats and to promote European co-operation in that field.

The Convention places a particular importance on the need to protect endangered natural habitats and endangered vulnerable species, including migratory species.

All countries that have signed the Bern Convention must take action to:

  • promote national policies for the conservation of wild flora and fauna, and their natural habitats;
  • have regard to the conservation of wild flora and fauna in their planning and development policies, and in their measures against pollution;
  • promote education and disseminate general information on the need to conserve species of wild flora and fauna and their habitats;
  • encourage and co-ordinate research related to the purposes of this Convention.
and also co-operate to enhance the effectiveness of these measures through:
  • co-ordination of efforts to protect migratory species;
  • and the exchange of information and the sharing of experience and expertise.

The Bern Convention underlines humankind's role concerning the conservation of the natural and landscape heritage. It has also played an important part in wider international co-operation, complementing and interacting with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (Bonn Convention) and its agreements, the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, and the European Landscape Convention, as well as other institutions at the European and world level which are active in the field of biodiversity conservation.

For further information please contact:
Ivana D’Alessandro, Secretary of the Bern Convention, e-mail: ivana.dalessandro@coe.int
Website: http://www.coe.int/Bernconvention

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